279th Meeting – Tuesday, October 10th 2006

SOS: a non-profit organization helping foreigners living in Chiangmai
A presentation by Alan Hall and Andrew Williams

Present: Richard Nelson-Jones, Thomas Ohlson, Christian Gillet, Hannah Rumble, Bodil Blokker, Vincent Moreau. An audience of 6.

SOS is a non-profit organization whose aim is to help foreigners living in Chiangmai with assistance in the event of an emergency. We are based in Chiangmai and have an office situated near to Payap University.

Our 24 hour emergency help lines receive calls in both Thai and English. Because of the diversity of the team, we have established excellent relations with many important organizations in Chiang Mai. We have a good working relationship with a local law firm which will provide our members with 24 hour legal assistance. The SOS team is a combination of both UK and Thai nationals working together to give our members the best possible assistance whatever the emergency.

The SOS team  

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a UK national and has been living and working in Chiangmai for over four years. During his time here he has made a concerted effort to learn to speak Thai and has managed to reach an extremely high standard, due to this he is able to work with local people and make the most of their knowledge. Before working with SOS he worked here in Chiangmai as an English teacher.

Alan Hall

Alan is a UK national and has lived in Chiangmai for just over five years. He is a financial advisor and investment counsellor with over twenty years experience. His professional qualifications include financial planning certificates 1, 2, 3 and Cmap. Alan also has a weekly column in the Chiangmai Mail where he talks about investments and other financial topics.

Robert Brown

Robert is a UK national and has lived in Chiangmai for five years. He is a volunteer member of the Tourist police here in Chiangmai.

Prangvalai Williams

Prangvalai is a Thai national and was educated locally at Payap University. She spent two years living and working in the UK and is a fluent English speaker.

Thanaphat Hall

Thanaphat is also a Thai national. She was educated at the University of Siam in Bangkok. Thanaphat is also fluent in English as she lived and worked in the UK for five years.

SOS Emergency Assistance for Foreigners in Chiang Mai

Detention by the Police or Immigration authorities - Imagine being detained by police or immigration officials and not being able to communicate. We know foreigners who, due to a lack of language ability and knowledge of the culture, have spent long days and nights attempting to explain their side of the story. This could have been avoided if they had been a member of SOS.

What would SOS do?

·        Visit the police station or immigration detention centre to establish the cause of the problem.

·        Arrange for legal assistance if necessary.

·        Liaise with police/immigration officials on your behalf.

·        Contact friends or family and explain the situation.   

Hospitalisation - Imagine lying in a strange hospital ward whilst suffering from a serious illness or injuries and not knowing how to contact your friends and family, or your health insurance company. SOS would contact your next of kin and your health insurance company on your behalf, helping to make sure you receive the best possible treatment as quickly as possible.

What would SOS do?

·        Inform your medical insurers

·        Inform the hospital of your medical history

·        Provide legal assistance if required

·        Contact friends and family and explain the situation.

·        If necessary, inform the police and immigration 

In case of death - In the event of your sudden death, imagine someone else having to sort out your estate and funeral arrangements without having prior knowledge of your requests. SOS would have all of the relevant information on hand to make sure your funeral arrangements and Will were taken care of in the manner in which you wanted.

What would SOS do?

·        Inform the your embassy

·        Provide assistance with funeral arrangements

·        Inform the executor of your Will

·        Assist with arrangements for repatriation 

Other services offered by SOS

·        Health insurance – We know of health insurance companies that will provide health cover for over 65 year olds

·        Property insurance

·        Car insurance

·        Raising capital on overseas properties

·        Thai Will writing service – You may already have a Will which covers to disbursement of your assets in your own country, but that document will not cover the disbursement of your assets in Thailand

·        Advice on visa entitlement and visa application documentation and procedures.

SOS assistance is restricted to incidents occurring in the area of Chiang Mai. Emergency telephone calls can be taken in English and Thai languages only. Any disbursements must be paid by the member or the receiver of services. SOS are not under any circumstances responsible for payments to any parties. SOS reserves the right to use client information to assist the member in an emergency. Client information is strictly confidential and will not be divulged to any other person without first receiving the member’s express permission. Visits to a member detained by the police or immigration are limited to a period of 7 days after arrest.    

24 hour Emergency assistance when you need it most.

If you were in trouble who would you call on for help? Friends or family can be unavailable or unable to give assistance.

SOS members have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they have access to a team of professionals 24 hour a day.

In the event of an emergency, the member or someone acting on their behalf can call the 24 hour help line number on the membership card.

Don’t wait until you need assistance. Join SOS today and feel secure in the knowledge that for only 5 baht a day our professionals are only a phone call away.

SOS is supported by MBMG International and ICO International Group Co. Ltd.

Annual membership fee Baht 2,000

Informal Northern Thai Group members and Chiang Mai Expat club members receive 10% discount

For more information or to become a member contact:

Andrew Williams Tel: 07-0520389

Alan Hall Tel: 01-7643048

E-mail: info@soschiangmai.com

Website: www.soschiangmai.com